The best sites to help you find the perfect next book

First off, No, this is not a sponsored post. I am a huge reader and I work in a library so I know a thing or two about searching for good books. The thing about recommending books professionally, is that you don’t know much about the person you are recommending to, and they might just be interested in a genre that you literally have NO INTEREST IN. To be certain, very few come up asking for the next great erotica.

But you still have to help them.

Enter the “professional tools” of R.A.

Goodreads is likely the most well-known of the websites I recommend. I use it to track my reading and my TBR list and it is an infinitely valuable tool, in my opinion. But the sheer number of users on goodreads means that I can find “shelves” or “lists” on almost anything from Bratva Romance/Erotica to Animal Xenofiction. If you are looking for things related to a narrow topic or a specific genre, Goodreads, or adding “goodreads” to your google search is a great place to start.

Whichbook is an awesome website for discovering new authors when you are in a serious book slump or recommending to a person who isn’t sure what they want to read. It asks very different questions from the typical ones I think of. Whichbook has different approaches, but the main function looks like this:

You can click on a few of the options and drag the arrow along a sliding scale. Some of the categories seem a bit random, but I think this is because they are designed to not pigeon-hole you into certain genres. Asking a customer these questions are more likely to help them find a book containing the emotional experience they are seeking, which I love! I also really appreciate that Whichbook has a “funny scale” because this is one category that I find very difficult to make recommendations for in books, especially fiction.

Whichbook also has different approaches to help you narrow down choices based on plot, character or setting. For character, you can refine search results by specific character traits for the hero/heroine.

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Or you can choose a plot based on popular archetypes.

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Finally, Whichbook also lets you choose books based on geographical setting, which can be narrowed down by country, and includes a category for imagined settings. One of my favourite aspects of this tool is that it does not usually recommend bestsellers, so your top search results shouldn’t all be authors you’ve read before. Whichbook is currently designing a companion site for children’s books, and I am looking forward to being able to use this for RA at work!

Literature Map is the best tool I know for finding author readalikes. You can search nearly any author and it will create a word web type result. The author you search is in the centre of the map results and the authors who write books most similarly to them will be closest to your search query.

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In this example, I have highlighted my original search and circled the authors who I have already read and enjoyed. Now I have a bunch of new authors to read while I wait for the next few releases from my favourite authors!

I hope these tools help you all on your next great book hunt. Hopefully Autumn brings us all some fantastic books!

xx

Book Sale!

PSA!

I posted this already from my twitter, but one of my go-to authors, Anna Zaires, is having an e-book sale right now on two of her books from 2016. The combined version of Capture Me and Bind Me is on sale at most major online retailers (Amazon, ibooks, etc) for $0.99! This is an amazing price!

I am not being paid to promote this or anything, but I like to share when you can get a good price for one of my highly recommended reads, if I happen to notice the sale.

To get notifications of when I post or see a good sale, follow me on twitter at https://twitter.com/ha_millar .

xx

Sarah MacLean: Insight From A Romance Author on Being a Woman “Out” in This Industry

I just read this article from Sarah MacLean on slut-shaming romance authors and bullying. She discusses the bizarre biases other authors and average citizens have against authors of romance and erotica, as well as some of the more shocking comments she has received, online and from friends and family members.

I found this article to be insightful and interesting!

You can check out her article right here:

https://www.bustle.com/articles/186881-sarah-maclean-bashing-romance-novels-is-just-another-form-of-slut-shaming

xx

What are you reading?

I am reading 5 books right now. If we were talking about food, you would say my eyes are too big for my stomach. Not too sure what the literary equivalent would be, but the message is still communicated fairly effectively.

Blame it on my advanced reading level.

Or the fact that I am a stereotypical Gemini. Easily Bored multi-tasker. Interested in a variety of topics and stories.

It probably has something to do with my job as well. I work in a public library and every day I am there, talking books with co-workers and customers. I check books in. I check them out. RA. It is difficult not to come home with an armful after each shift!

So I read. A lot. And usually many at one time.

I have made it a personal goal … er, limit, to try to keep to one type of each book. Originally, I was going to limit myself to 1 book checked out from the library at a time. This rule developed because I had had certain books out for months that I hadn’t finished *ahem started* yet. But of course, it didn’t stick. So now the rule is one book per type.

So what am I reading these days?

 Well, on my ipad I am reading my personal copy of Devil’s Game by Joanna Wylde. It is book three in my favourite MC romance series and I will post a review shortly. I was trying to re-read the whole series before her new book, Shade’s Lady, comes out tomorrow, but I am only half way there so I think the others will have to wait until the following new release for a re-read.

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 I also started The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I checked this out through my library’s Cloud Library e-book program. I read it a loooong time ago when I was way too young to appreciate the story. Like, I was in elementary. And now that the miniseries is coming out, I wanted to read it again before I watch the show.

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 I am also reading a library book called The Wealthy Renter by Alex Avery. It was just released in the fall of 2016 so I am hoping it will help shed some light on the current housing situation in Canada (bubble!) and hopefully make me feel better that I will probably never be able to afford to purchase my own home.

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 Lately, I always seem to have a religious text on the go. Currently it is the Book of Mormon.

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 Finally, the audiobook. I am listening to The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. This book is emotionally charged and incredibly well-written, but I have to listen at the right time and place, because I end up crying every two or three chapters. Not a great on-the-way-to-work book! Unless raccoon eyes are in vogue in your workplace.

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 So what else do I have on the go? Well, I’m working on learning a few recipes from an Indian cookbook, but don’t really classify that as reading. Starting tomorrow, I will be working on the aforementioned Shade’s Lady (obviously). I also just picked up three books about buying a car and tips for women when negotiating with a car salesman. I have already picked out the vehicle I want and am saving up a bigger downpayment, because the monthly payments were a little high, but I want to make sure I get the best deal possible (duh). So of course I went to the trusty library for advice!

 What are you reading?

xx

How kinky are you?

A couple of years ago I discovered this bdsm test online that seems on the up and up. It is found at bdsmtest.org and I think it started out as a research paper of some kind, seeking data. It certainly isn’t your garden variety buzzfeed test!

Check it out here.

So I just re-took the quiz. I don’t know what my results from last time were, but I have certainly grown as an individual, so I was curious what they would be now.

I like that the test responds to your choices and interests. If you indicate that you would like to learn more or reach out to someone in the lifestyle, it provides options for you to do that. I also provided my email address in case they create more tests of this nature, since I would like to participate in them.

To date, more than 100, 000 participants have been involved! It gives you great results based on this data to show how you answered in comparison to other respondents based on gender and age.

So here are my results! **bites nails, hopes not to be judged**  What are yours?

== Results from bdsmtest.org ==
98% Rope bunny
97% Submissive
75% Experimentalist
75% Brat
74% Masochist
48% Girl/Boy
45% Voyeur
45% Primal (Prey)
42% Slave
27% Ageplayer
27% Exhibitionist
22% Vanilla
11% Pet
11% Degradee
6% Daddy/Mommy
5% Sadist
5% Non-monogamist
4% Switch
3% Rigger
1% Dominant
1% Primal (Hunter)
1% Master/Mistress
1% Brat tamer
0% Degrader
0% Owner

If that gets you hot and steamy, some of the kinkiest books I have reviewed are located here:

His Witness by Vanessa Waltz – A review

Alexandr’s Cherished Submissive by Ann Mayburn – a review

Twist Me by Anna Zaires – book review

xx

More than the Tattooed Mormon by Al Carraway

More than the tattooed Mormon is author Al Carraway’s personal story of growing up in a non-practising Catholic NY state family, her sidewalk meeting with two missionary boys in funny helmets and eventual conversation to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I have been following Al on social media for about a year now and I’m so glad I finally sat myself down to buy and read her book.

I read More than the tattooed Mormon as a part of the Read Harder Challenge 2016. It was my fictional or non-fiction book about religion 🙂

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Before I get into my review, here is her blurb, courtesy of Goodreads.

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Al Fox Carraway has spent the last four years inspiring the world with her story of conversion, redemption, and finding faith. As a blogger, social media personality, and award-winning public speaker, her message has reached millions. This moving biography and up-close account of her life and membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the “LDS” or “Mormon” church) will show you what it means to truly trust in the Lord.

“Don’t go, Al. You won’t fit in.”

Being baptized and following the Lord has made Al’s life harder than it ever was before. She endured criticism from friends and family for becoming a Mormon. She faced harsh judgments from Church members for her appearance. She gave up everything and felt more alone than she ever had in her life. All because she chose God.

Now she shares an up-close look at how trusting God has led her to places she never expected. As a blogger, YouTuber, and award-winning public speaker, her message has reached millions. Sharing her love of the Savior, Al goes beyond her own conversion and encourages readers to choose God above anything else. This uplifting book inspires readers to build a true relationship with the Lord that will bring them real, lasting happiness.

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I found Al’s testimony to be incredibly inspiring. She has such a positive and happy attitude towards life that I would consider her a role model for any person, regardless of religious beliefs. I admire her faith and inner strength. Taking steps on faith in God and trusting everything to work out with your best efforts put forth is much harder than it sounds, and something that I have been struggling with for a very long time.

I also thought that her book shed a lot of light on the LDS Church without being judgmental, or too wrapped up in the practices of the Church.  This might sound crazy for a book about religion, and admittedly there are verses throughout, but I didn’t find the book to be as “religious” as I expected. I felt as though Al was sharing her testimony in a positive way and hoping that it reached to the very souls of her readers, but not that she was attempting to convert the masses.

In full disclosure, I am a “convert” to the LDS Church myself. I identify as Mormon. But I’m kinda a lackadaisical convert. The nearest meeting house is only about 30 minutes away, but thus far I have been too nervous to go by myself, even though I can feel God telling me that is what I should do. I do own a bible which I have read through and the Book of Mormon, which I have rather fallen off the wagon from reading the last year. But I participate in the General Conference Sessions biannually and try to follow as many of the beliefs as I can.

So I feel like I can say Al’s book was more spiritual in nature than religious, because I didn’t learn too much more about the Church than I already knew (although hey!, apparently I am an investigator?!) but she did fill me with a desire to take further steps towards being baptized and receiving a Temple Recommend.

I would like to go to one of her firesides in person. I do feel like she might be a better public speaker than she is a writer, although Al freely admits she writes from the heart and it isn’t her strength. That is obvious at times and she does repeat herself sporadically throughout, but her message was so clear and pure that I know I will read her book again and again.

Here are some of the most important messages that I took away from The Tattooed Mormon:

We are all born with the Light of Christ; every single one of us has it. But when we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, the promise that it is ours to keep and have always is very real. Oftentimes we as members don’t recognize His presence because of its consistency in our life. -Al Carraway

This passage was particularly meaningful to me because it spoke to my self-doubts and cynicism. I have begun to realize that maybe God speaks to me through my instincts, little feelings I get sometimes and that learning to “listen to my gut” will help me to better follow the path God has set before me. When others speak about God answering their prayers with wisdom and guidance, I scoff and doubt the veracity of the Church. But this passage made me wonder if I just can’t recognize God’s work in my life because he has always been there and I just never noticed.

Choosing God is choosing happiness. -Al Carraway

Yes! Happiness is a choice. It is a choice you have to make every day. Sometimes multiple time an hour every day. But it is a choice. I think it is one of the hardest and greatest gifts that we receive in this world, free agency. It is so very much harder to be positive and happy than it is to feel angry and bitter, to have a bad attitude, especially when life isn’t going perfectly. But happiness doesn’t come from invisible dust that the Happiness Fairy sprinkles about. She doesn’t deliberately skip you while visiting the rest of the world at night. Happiness is the clear choice, but it is so friggin’ hard. Choosing God does help me to slow down and keep perspective, to enjoy the simple things in life. Choosing God helps me to choose not to be offended or slighted. And to remember than I am in charge of more than just my emotions in the moment, I am in control of my happiness throughout this mortal life.

And in that moment, I thought of Christ. I thought of the time He fed the multitude and when He raised Lazarus from the dead. I said out loud, ‘Holy cow, those are great miracles!’ And while waving my hand up at Heavenly Father, I yelled, ‘That is what I need, a miracle!’ And I thought, what happened right before those miracles came? Well, Christ prayed, right? But they were prayers of gratitude. And I thought, Wow, what an incredible example. -Al Carraway

Al, you little genius. I asked God for a lot in my prayers. They are usually altruistic things, like helping a family member in need, to bring comfort to the sick or distressed, but I rarely think to thank God when things are going poorly. I say the occasional ‘thanks for providing for me’ or ‘thank you for this wonderful life’ but in no way do they come close to equalling out the requests, and usually only come during the rare moment everything is going right. Al’s thinking has turned mine on its head.

Ok, so I promise that I am not copying out all my favourite highlighted passages and I am still only up to Chapter 2. Clearly, this book spoke to me. So I’m going to leave off with one last quote, because I think it is one that is helpful to the religious and non-religious alike.

I remember having to make a decision. It’s a decision I had to make and continue to make; it’s a decision you have to make every single day: choose to get mad, choose to get bothered or offended, or choose to not. Choose to keep going, choose to trust, choose to have faith – or not. What it came down to and what it will always come down to is this: choose God or don’t. -Al Carraway

Well, maybe the end got a little religious. Sorry. It goes to my point though, you decide what emotions you want to feel. You have an angry, jealous and bitter wolf inside of you and a happy, positive, loving one. The one who grows is the one you feed.

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xx